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The Daily Oklahoman

February 23, 2000
Edition: CITY
Page: 3

OU author earns literary acclaim
Norman's Smith receives honor from Paraguay

Article Text:

A book published by a University of Oklahoma staff member has received Paraguay's highest literary honor, the Premio De Honor from the Paraguayan PEN Association.

Norman native Susan Smith Nash received the award in January during a visit to Paraguay. After two years of research, more than a dozen trips to Paraguay and countless personal interviews with various authors, Nash published an anthology of translated works by 25 Paraguayan female writers.

The anthology, titled "First Light," provides an enlightening perspective on Paraguayan history and culture through the works of the authors. Nash translated the works from their native Guarani and Spanish languages. Nash, a graduate of Norman High School, earned her doctorate in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is now director of engineering and geosciences programs at the OU College of Continuing Education.

"My primary objective in preparing this document is to introduce English-speaking audiences to a body of work that is largely unknown and is rarely included in anthologies," Nash said. "Eventually it would be good to see the work of the women translated in entirety, and a series of bilingual versions published.

"For now, it is very gratifying to be able to present a comprehensive body of work that provides an excellent overview of trends in contemporary Paraguayan women's writing."

Her time in Bolivia generated a continuing interest in Latin American culture and literature. Paraguay, which borders Bolivia, became her focus in 1996, when she began a series of trips to meet with the authors included in the book.

As a result of this research, in 1998, Nash also published a tri-lingual translation of Susy Delgado's Close to the Fire. The translation was published in English, Spanish and Guarani, which is an Amer-Indian language indigenous to Paraguay.

To understand and preserve the contextual meaning in each author's work, Nash had to learn the Guarani language as well as the cultural and historical heritage of Paraguay.

"This required a great deal of reading, research, and study of literary texts, history, newspapers, tracts and all types of documents produced in Paraguay on Paraguayans," she said.

The title of the work, First Light, reflects the initial introduction to English-language audiences for many of these authors, explained Nash. The title has a deeper meaning, however, in the Spanish language, where the term "first light" - luz primero - also means to give birth, she said.

Copyright 2000 Oklahoma Publishing Company
Record Number: 2104444

Article Bookmark(OpenURL Compliant):OU author earns literary acclaimNorman's Smith receives honor from Paraguay (The Daily Oklahoman, February 23, 2000)